A “Collective Psychotic Episode”

Tuesday’s post, published early by mistake. See you Wednesday morning.

I am (unhappily) persuaded that the thesis of an October 4th article for Salon is correct.

David Mascriotra’s opening line was “There is only one political party in the United States.” He went on to defend that observation

The first presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump demonstrated with hideous clarity that the Democratic Party is currently running against not a conservative public policy agenda or a coherent philosophy of governance, but a collective psychotic episode, channeled through an authoritarian demagogue who is equally propelled and crippled by his own neuroses.Gore Vidal, one of America’s best chroniclers of empire, once provided instruction to a British interviewer expressing confusion over the radical hostility Republicans showed toward Barack Obama, and the former president’s inability to react with equal aggression: “Obama believes the Republican Party is a political party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth, based on hatred — religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.”

Mascriotra doesn’t fall into the all-too-frequent mistake of centering his criticism on Trump and his gang that can’t shoot straight. His analysis focuses on the real problem–the fact that the Republican Party has  undergone a radical transformation from a genuine political party into a cult–or, as the quoted paragraph graphically puts it, a “mindset.” And a pretty ugly mindset, at that.

This analysis rejects the (weak) excuse that Republican office-holders don’t stand up to Trump because they are afraid of what the author calls the “bloodlust” of the Trump cult. Although there is undoubtedly some of that, he argues that–at least at the federal level– they share Trump’s hatred of democracy, and he shares statements from several of the “usual subjects”– Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and others–to prove his point.

Republican officeholders and voters “are glad to see him waging war on a system designed to give representation and power to a diverse group of citizens.”

We all know what “diverse group of citizens” means: brown and black people, women, gays, Jews and Muslims. It always comes back to what is increasingly impossible to ignore– the almost total capture of the GOP by white supremacists. To rank and file Republicans, “Making America great again” means recommitting the country to the rule and social dominance of white male Christians. As Mascriotra says, “there is no other reasonable conclusion to draw from the fact that between 80 and 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance in office.”

That conclusion –that the GOP is no longer a party, but a white supremacist cult– is also supported by the lack of anything resembling an agenda or a platform.

An American without health insurance, or who pays a high monthly premium for inadequate coverage, can expect nothing from the Republican Party. Working parents who cannot afford child care and have no disposable income after paying each month’s bills can expect nothing from the Republican Party. A young college graduate unable to qualify for a mortgage because he has tens of thousands of dollars in student debt can expect nothing from the Republican Party. Poor children suffering through hunger and struggling to learn basic skills in a dysfunctional school can expect nothing from the Republican Party.

Mascriotra quotes George Will for the proposition that the GOP has abandoned any former connection to a coherent, genuine conservatism. He concludes that Trump’s inability to debate Biden, evidenced by his descent into tantrum and invective, was largely because Republicans no longer have principles or programs to debate or defend.

Through their multi-decade commitment to shrinking government down so small that it can “drown in a bathtub,” to use the words of Grover Norquist, what was once a reasonably coherent pro-business conservative party has arrived at its logical endpoint — a fascist power grab under the guise of an incoherent personality cult.

The late Stanley Crouch warned Republicans of their trouble in the late 1990s, explaining to Charlie Rose that you “cannot assemble a group of lunatics” to follow you without eventually following them into lunacy.

Reminds me of the lyric from the song, “Bring in the clowns.”

Don’t bother–they’re here.

 

 

42 thoughts on “A “Collective Psychotic Episode”

  1. Looks like that to me also Sheila
    After this election they can regroup or rename.
    Thanks,
    Tony

  2. hmmmm–‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.” I can’t say I have ever thought conservative was kindly old, white men hunting foxes. I laughed when Joe Scarborough who for years thought we Dems were being nasty when we would mention there were a fair number of white supremacists’ who found a home in the Republican Party and Joe had to tentatively agree we Dems were right. Joe may have grown up in the south but anyone living in the midwest and the southern states have been aware of this trend. Not to mention the religious zealots. I guess out East and out West very few people attend church but Indiana (aka: the middle finger for the south) and places like Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi where churches prayed for Obama’s demise and think that Trump is the second coming of Christ–anyone living in these states are aware how there is zero separation of Church and State.

    Last week I sent Sheila in article where a county school system in Tennessee had to stop handing out free bibles to all 5th grade students and had to stop posting Bible versus and the delivery of Christian prayers over the intercom systems. This was going on up until a week ago–
    I said about 8 years ago that I believe that the Republican party no longer believes in democracy and like so many religions the only ‘righteous way’ is their way.

  3. What annoys me with my friend group is the fashionable love of false equivalency. Biden may not have been at the peak of debating, but to say the “debate” was just 2 angry old men yelling isn’t true. One was demonstrably worse.

    The fashion of “they’re both equally bad” is exhausting.

  4. I never encountered before nor hope to ever after this year encounter again the feeling that I have to vote single party this year. It’s very uncomfortable but there’s no alternative. Republicans have earned nothing but a time out starting next year to regroup and rethink and reorganize. In four years the country can decide if they’ve recovered to a position to contribute to the nation’s recovery from them.

  5. If Trump (pray God) loses, the outcome I see is not the dissolution of the Republican cult, but a doubling down on the anti-democracy violence, exclusivity and racism that Trump has given them license to vent. After all, huge numbers of Americans see our man with the bloody hands as their type of leader- an apotheosis of the bitter hated and vindictiveness that has governed their entire lives while awaiting an opportunity to express themselves. Where will they go? Certainly not to the side of sanity and empathy required to run a civilized country. Certainly not to the side of science required to save us from our depredations on the planet. Certainly not to the reasonableness of compromise without which democracies cannot exist. They are satisfied with whatever mental diseases guide them, with or without the man who spews invectives every day of his life.

    Trump has revealed to us the true and the ubiquitous nature of the enemy. If we are not creative enough to corner them in a location where they prove harmless, they, like the vile human rot they have proven themselves to be, will become, as George Will stated, “the putrescence of America’s public life.” To know all is to forgive all, but to forgive all is to volunteer to become a victim of the person who wishes for your demise. We must proactively corner and effectively disable these people who long for an end to democracy.

    Franklin warned us about how difficult it would be to hold onto what the founding fathers had given us. To ignore him would be to dishonor their legacy. Wimpy and wishy washy are not policies. Buttressing the rule of law to cope with those who disdain it and wish to defeat it is.

  6. Well, once again, I feel the need to add some REAL political historic context to the presumed “2 party system.” The TRUTH is that The Democrat Party, beginning with Bill Clinton et al, started to trade unions (the middle class) in for Wall Street and Big Banks. It has been a 30+ year give away. Today’s pro-business party is The Democrat Party. Let’s at least have a modicum of honesty on this subject.

    It took 30+ years for that traditional middle class to give the finger, not just to The Democrats by staying home in 2016, but to the ENTIRE political machinery in D.C. that is nothing but a “Middle Manager” for the global financial elite. That is exactly why so many “former Democrats” turned to Trump and NOT, necessarily, because they thought he would do a good job. No. They did it because they didn’t give a shit about The Establishment Politicians (of both parties) who have been throwing the average American under the bus for decades.

    Right?

    And, again, most of us are clear eyed when it comes to Trump’s crazy and the enabling GOP. I don’t think there is much confusion on that subject. However, what REALLY needs fixing is the Middle Management Government Machine that is designed to be pro global money and not much else. If ANYONE has serious questions to the authenticity of this, I merely direct you to the donor class of EITHER party and become acutely aware that BOTH PARTIES get the SAME donor dollars from virtually the SAME pocketbooks!!!

    I think the “last straw” of some of my former Democrat friends who voted for Trump in Missouri 4 years ago was Obama’s salvation of Wall Street and Big Banks and virtually nothing for the millions who lost their homes (my brother being just one) and good paying jobs. The other camel straw was revoking his promise for single pay health care and allowing the private health insurance companies to write the ACA!!! That was bad enough, but then those who could NOT afford the ACA (and there were/are millions for people who can’t in states that did not have an exchange policy like Missouri at the time) were given a nice “penalty” for essentially not signing up to a new law that was financially benefiting, once again, the predator Health Insurance corporations!!!

    Those two blatant pro-business acts of Obama merely bashed down the already open doors to Trumpland. (there are, of course, many other Republican Party policies Obama passed or continued to make the point obvious)

    Why are so many people in denial over the complicity of The Democrat Party these last 30-35 years????

    Expect more Trump-like folk getting re-elected 4 years from now if the Pro- Global Financial Government in D.C. does not get a complete overhaul!!! It is way past time for REAL people who have suffered tremendously under BOTH parties for over 30 years to be truly reconnected directly to the political process or you can kiss what is left of “democracy” good-bye.

  7. Bradford,

    That whole comment was basically a crock!

    After 2010 there wasn’t much Barack Obama could do in less he penned an executive order which drove the GOP insane.

    The single-payer deletion was trying to bring the GOP on board with the ACA! (The GOP was responsible for over 100 amendments to the ACA) The GOP also freaked out about extending or raising the deficit, then they pulled sequestration out of somewhere, to hamstring the president. Obviously the GOP doesn’t believe in sequestration now, and there’s no limit to the amount of money that they spend. So, you cannot compare apples and oranges no matter whose pocket the money is coming from. If, the playing field is not level, then one has to play by the rules that are in place, or pack up and go home.

    There is no perfection in the political system, for one, religion has seeped into the political system, and this is why there is so much angst going on right now. Politics and religion have merged into one along with corporate America. Citizens United gave corporations an upper hand in politics, and it also gave religion an extremely weighted influence because of deep untaxed pockets with endless amounts of cash flowing in through lobbyists.

    These individuals were not walking in lockstep with the Democrats, because they didn’t believe in what the Democrats wanted, they didn’t want to be taxed, they wanted the money to keep flowing into their pockets, and they wanted certain religious beliefs to become civil law. All something that was/is diametrically opposed by the Democrats.

    The Republican Party has followed the Goose Step of the Nazi party right down to the midnight torch carrying marches, the heavy-handed police action against particular ethnic groups and the distain for immigrants. There is a reason why so many police officers in this country have white nationalist leanings, and, there is a reason why the Proud Boys and the Boogaloo boys hang around Cop Shops throughout the country! If you don’t agree with their direction or their tack, why would you hang out?

    And, I’m wondering what you mean by Global Elites?

    Because that phrase Global Elites is Nazi talk for Jewish business interests and banking systems! So I’m thinking, you’re saying one thing but meaning and other!

    So in essence Bradford I don’t agree with your observations nor your comment whatsoever, I mentioned this before, you are something other than what you are claiming.

    The British had to fight against this sort of thinking right after the war, and they were able to handle it because it was so soon afterwards. Here, enough time is past, the bad taste is not in the mouths of those who have not lived it. Therefore, they reinvent the wheel thinking it is going to work out better this time.

    I think not!

  8. Below is information I copied and pasted from Wikipedia; please read it and try to convince me that it is not still active in every state of the union today:

    “The Citizens’ Councils (commonly referred to as the White Citizens’ Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist[1] organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954.[2] After 1956, the name was Citizens’ Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States,[3] in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of public schools following the US Supreme Court ruling in 1954 that segregated public schools were unconstitutional. They also opposed voter registration efforts in the South, where most blacks had been disenfranchised since the turn of the 20th century, and integration of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and threatening and committing violence against civil-rights activists.”

    They may not be formal “councils” or recognized as “organizations” but they are alive and well after having been infused with the mega-millions provided by Citizens United to the right white people on the far right in powerful positions in the Trump administration and Congress.

  9. it started before reagan, the cult of greed,to fester into what is today’s,party of fasists. the democrats have no backbone,and wish it would all go away.. so much for Biden’s run. the war here is the politics,and the people.we know how the brownshirts did in 1932, this is no different..rehash the moment, we have a failed education system that has allowed to educate,indirectly what others think,is what your suppose to do..though everyone here is of a higher education standard,i am not. blue collar,and walking the street,in the actual,what we’ve been given,and what we are told..that alumni, is the first step to greater good,or a club in which gangs are formed,and distinguished in suits… no diffrent from south central L.A. or nowhere north dakota.. except,it’s those educated ones who, bought up media,and formed orgs to promote , fascism. when the VP of CBS admitted in interview why trump got so much air time, hey, we had a full time side show,and we got mega bucks in advertising….hence he seen fit,with his board of facist to decide, America is a joke,and ready to end,via, his boards decision. what happen here is no one even mentioned,or if they did,how this prick decided that everyone agrees..the minions of small people,as in our diverse population is merely a economic system of have,and have nots,not by choice,but the pecking order of others,who, have the money… when i see the same class of people as myself,are now the gang who support fascism in which the GOP party has become, i see where someday,they will be seen as a threat,and some boardroom meeting will met out the judgements,as they,see fit. if people,or scum like mcconnell isn’t called out on the floor of the senate for his support of this regime,then the whole lot is guilty of shitting on the very democracy we live,and have died for… the police have become militarized and lost contact with those they serve. instead of defending the people,the democracy of everyone,they are now the pawns of this new game..trump isn’t the problem,the people who control this country now are. the monied class like munchin,mercer and koch and such, have finally got the edge of the horizon and they are not about to let it go. they will now do as they please, because the whores they have conned into this abyss, now stand ready to die for the removal of the very freedoms they were granted,to be as they are now..
    one note, somehow,i believe the factions of wall street,may allow some drop in the numbers if trump looses, but only enough to stop the perceived unrest,as they see fit….

  10. Bradford,
    your view of why,Obama he didn’t perform as needed,is because he was handed a plate of issues,from the elites he had to now deal with.. being, the elites of wall street,already had this game down,and there was no other way but theirs. they created a financial debacles to only enrich themselves and their buddies..face fact,it started long ago, when Americans decided to ignore the reagan vote,and became amazed of what t.v. was selling them. instead of the old farts down at the park discussing the real issues, the new gens, were not talking,and only being educated to buy into anything that sounded good.. those old men who i was lucky to sit and listen to, educated me in why they went to europe and the islands…. today,that silver spoon is stuck down this new gens throats and are now sticking out their other brain.. maybe it was long ago,but the fact remains,the change is only for the rich,and the working class who has ignored the history,will now be economic slaves,or die fighting it..

  11. Reality check : Trump is released from the hospital and the stock market is up 465 points!
    Wow, Bradford kind of threw a wrench in your liberal bubble here!

  12. Many would say the inmates have taken over the asylum, but in point of fact, the inmates would run things much better than the Republicans do. They aren’t insane. They are greedy and evil.

  13. Yeah Becky,
    the only way Trump could ever win this election is through cheating! And he plans on attempting that very thing.

    89% of the stock in this country is owned by 10% of the population! That’s not a winning hand.

    He also told everyone that he thinks everyone should basically get Covid 19! And not be afraid of Covid! Because he feels 20 years younger!

    Like everyone has an emergency room in their house, or everyone can fly to the closest hospital or a hospital of his choice by a military style helicopter, or, anywhere in the world on the taxpayers dime.

    Or, can the average person walk into a hospital and get the same sort of treatment Donald Trump has received? All the while Trump is trying to repeal the ACA?

    Explain all of that to me in a rational fashion, how is this setting a great example for the country? He feels 20 years younger and no one should be afraid of Covid-19?

    That seems like a slap in the face to the over 210,000 Americans who have succumbed in death to this illness and the millions who have fought the virus and won their lives even though some of those are permanently damaged from it.

    Please explain your thought process comrade!

  14. Oh John, you’re such a grumpy old guy! More than half of US households have some investment in the stock market. Ever hear of a 401k? Have a great day. I love Trump and so do my friends!!!!

  15. Comprehension Becky!

    89% of the stock available for ownership is owned by 10% of the population! What’s so hard to understand about that? It doesn’t have anything to do with 401ks. That’s a drop in the ocean so to speak! Comprehension, lol! And, good for you and your friends! It really doesn’t say much about you or your friends now does it?

    Or maybe it speaks volumes about you and your friends, comrade!

  16. John Sorg, I will take the expertise of of Robert Reich over yours. I am merely sharing what he has personally experienced as Labor Secretary under Clinton and now teaching in Berkley. He left Clinton for him selling out to the business class. Clinton’s Secretary of Treasury got a nice job with the newly minted Citicorp he helped create (merger) as chairman. Reich is VERY transparent about how the Democrat Party sold out to the Financial Elite. Therefore, your beef is with Bob Reich, not me. Nice try.

    I, also, will also take Kurt Vonnegut views over yours. Again, as an airman, he was shot down and taken prisoner in Dresden when it was firebombed (by America’s new munition called napalm) and burnt to the ground by the allies. At the time Robert Reich was starting his new career as Professor of Public Policy at Berkley, Kurt Vonnegut was sharing with Charlie Rose and other affiliates how “The Money Party” was running all branches of our government and being the go-between of the Corporate/Financial Class and the voters. Again, if you have a beef with me on that fact, it’s with the late Voonegut, not me.

    BTW, you didn’t check the donor class and who they support did you? Of course not.

    Obama had control of both houses when elected. I read both of his books while he was running. What he did, and what he wrote could have come from two different people. Have you read his books? They are well written by a brilliant man in Obama. But they read as fiction today, after the fact of 8 years of selling out.

    It’s funny how people want to protect their biases (or heroes within). When is the last time the GOP caved in to the Democrats??? Yet that seems to be the same old tired bs argument for Obama every damn time. Frankly, it’s pathetic whining. You know what Obama had that NO ONE HAD?

    He had the Popular vote. Why didn’t he not fight??? Why didn’t he take his promises (which I heard with my own ear in person btw) to The People on TV??? He could have easily. That’s what the GOP does every time.

    I’m sorry, but I was raised in the shadows of Truman (who lived a mere 10 miles from my home) and FDR. They did NOT cave in to the do-nothing Congresses. Their word was worthy to bank on.

    Sorry John. Seems I have busted a bubble of bias with FACTS that are of public record. The record, proverbially, speaks for itself. I don’t go in for bs whining and excuses. BTW, neither did the middle class who elected Trump.

    One last thing. You came damn close to calling me a communist. Don’t EVEN go there. I am a 5th gen veteran and I took an oath to protect our Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. Our MAIN domestic enemy has been since 1980 has/is The Money Class. Trump has been used by them to pass the largest tax cut in history. That Money Class got their marching Orders from Lewis Powell https://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to-arms-for-corporations/

    Their orders have been completed. The transformation is complete. Or, to use Warren Buffett’s line from a dozen years ago, “There is a class war in this country, and my class has already won.”

    I have been around too long to see the transformation of our government into a tool for the Financial Elite and/or Corporate Class. That’s all it is. And for the record, a majority of Democrats jumped on Reagan’s Wall Street ride and have been there since. Again, that is just a straight fact. Bernie Sanders doesn’t lie about that…unless you have a beef with reality and Bernie too!!!

  17. The posting is spot-on.
    Mascriotra’s packaging of the situation is clear, and from here, accurate. The GOP has descended into the “mindset” as depicted, in a virtually directed manner. For too long, their agenda has been to gain power in order to feed on the wealth of the country and its bigotry. Life long bigot Trump, it can be said was honing his malevolent malignancy, his manipulative skill set, the only one he has, over the course of his adult life, just waiting for the GOP to be ready for him. The GOP, in the meanwhile, was edging closer, and closer, to becoming the full blown cess-pool it now is at the same time.
    The Koch Bros., who founded the Tea Party, were working their long term agenda of elitism and bigotry, channeling John C. Calhoun, by way of Jim Buchanan, and took over the GOP, which was all to willing to go along, and here we are, with just the sort of group described: No principles, no program beyond holding onto power.

  18. Wow Bradford!

    Robert Reich and his transparency?

    The firebombing of Dresden?

    Kurt Vonnegut?

    5th generation veteran? Wow!

    Tying yourself and knots now, thou dust protest too much!

    Those little diddy’s obviously prove your point, lol, not really!

    What does the popular vote have to do with anything? We have a guy in there right now who did not win the popular vote! Neither did the Republican before him, George Bush.

    Barack Obama was probably a little on the naive side thinking that he could establish some sort of kumbaya relationship with the GOP, obviously he was wrong.

    When Barack Obama was told out loud by Mitch McConnell that he would never get cooperation for any program he put forward from 2010 onward period, and, McConnell was true to his word.

    Barack Obama was elected to a second term much to the chagrin and surprise of the GOP so they dug in their heels just a little bit harder. He had the popular vote in 2012 and they refused to even seat his selection to the supreme court! So you tell me how the popular vote made a difference in that?

    Where was the public outrage?

    As far as you being a communist, that wasn’t even implied! And you claim to be a fifth generation veteran? If anything would have been implied, it would have been fascism! Nationalistic fascism and communism are two different things! Socialism lines up more with fascism, (Right) communism (Left) would be the opposite Pole. I would have thought being fifth generation and all, you would know that.

    Like I said, I have my suspicions, but those are my suspicions!

  19. Good idea bradford! Because you’ve just spewed a boatload full of untruths half truths and wishful thinking!

    I would like to clear one thing up, it doesn’t take much research to find all of Barack Obama’s beseeching to the American public, unfortunately it didn’t go very far now did it?

    And just so you know, I’m not upset, I just called you out!

  20. Bradford; I read both of Barack Obama’s books during his campaign. He had a Democratic Congress for less than one year before the Republican’s self-proclaimed, unofficial “citizens council” took over, swearing to stop him from as much progress as possible. Tell the whole story; Republican Congress prevented President Obama from accomplishing much in the way of change but he met all crises head-on and increased our diplomatic relations with enemy countries while strengthening our ties to years-long allies. He ended the 54 year animosity between America and Cuba to safeguard this country and to open trade to benefit both countries. He struck up a nuclear pact with Iran; which was basic but was a safeguard which Trump ended. He got the ACA enacted; using much of the health care programs authored by Republicans during the George W. administration; stating it needed work but would AND DID provide health care for those with preexisting conditions. He did leave instructions and informed Trump of the plan to deal with the possibility of a Pandemic hitting this country which Trump threw out. Trump ended the Iran nuclear pact and removed this country from the Paris Accord as he ended EPA regulations to deny Climate Change and Global Warming. The economy began to strengthen and rise and joblessness numbers lowered due to his strong plans; these conditions continued under Trump which he took full credit for. The Covid-19 Pandemic has infected and killed more victims than wars we have been involved in and now the economy is heading to a severe Recession while joblessness numbers and businesses are being lost forever due to the Pandemic which was allowed to get a foothold here before Trump admitted there is a problem.

    Unless and until Obama’s “Audacity Of Hope” becomes a reality in this country; we will continue to die and the country is doomed to become one of those “shit hole” countries Trump denied aid to after disasters. This country IS a disaster at this time and he is certainly not helping us survive or improve Pandemic conditions but is personally spreading the disease himself.

  21. Kind of scared to even jump in since we are all feuding over the realities of our political life in an Oligarchy. As Bradford pointed out, how can our two-party system be anything but middle-managers?

    Sorry John, but you’ve fallen prey to the idea that our “Democratic Republic” still exists for the people, and we have two reasonable choices: liberal or conservative.

    Some would say we had a choice between the capitalist and labor parties, but what year did that vanish? Unions represent 12% of the labor force, so what institutions are defending the working class from capitalists? Who is checking the economic power associated with owners of capital?

    Articulating what the Grand Ole Party has become is kind of easy during the Trump years, especially with his dramatic return to the White House posing on top of a balcony to wave at his worshippers ala vintage Mussolini or Hitler.

    One question to those describing the GOP as “anti-Jewish,” please provide evidence of this statement. With a Zionist Jew like Sheldon Adelson being one of the top donors to the GOP and all of Trump’s handy work in Israel, I would exclude the term “anti-Jewish” from the descriptors.

    Once again, I believe the essence of the problem is the “liberal democratic party” has moved so far to the right of center that it has picked up former conservative party loyalists. They had to find a home somewhere in the Oligarchic controlled two-party offerings. These folks have found a home and are shocked at watching their former party devolve into a cult of white supremacy. Trust me; many former democrats have switched over to the racist party as well. It’s been a rather subtle but quick transformation.

    I’ll wait for another day to point out the obvious with the DNC, but as Joe Biden keeps reminding people, “I defeated the socialists in the party.” He especially had to make that point in South Florida since many are scared of the red boogeyman.

    Of course, Joe Biden was referring to the Democratic Socialist influence of Bernie Sanders, whom Noam Chomsky called a New Deal Democrat (FDR). Some of you might want to do more research on the Democratic Party you’ve recently adopted since a party for capitalists can’t also represent workers. Two different motives and realities.

  22. This phrase, “hideous clarity” is perfect and I am going to use it a lot over the next few weeks… and the responses to this blog post today seem to be more proof of how oddly thing quickly turn and fly off the road. I am not sure how any one can even debate anything anymore for it always ends up in LALA Land. I enjoy absurdity and surrealism from time to time, it’s part of a well-rounded mind. I just don’t like it in my politics.

  23. JoAnn,thanks..
    fact, 2008 market fell, from 13,500 to 6500,and then steadied at7400, in 8 years of a recession,in Obama’s term, it rebound 9000 points to 18,000, considering it took from the civil war to 1992 to get to 10,000 Obama made sure the dimonds would tow the line in a comeback.. when trumps elected,the market magically jumped 5000 points in 2 months,walla! was this smoke and mirrors,or the fact wall street can and will manipulate the numbers? as they see fit, we now have SEC that is next to useless and a IRS who preys only on the small buisness and small people,as helmsley would say..now it’s the dow,futures,the fed reserve has again propped up the market by buying the debt,again…without the fan fare of 2010.. this kind of shows how the monied interests are served,because of their never ending greed to succeed,and screw the working class,at any costs.. local economies go bust when there’s no money in our pockets,so the trivial stimulus was just that,trivial.. but when mcconnell; comes back to work 11/4 be sure he will say with munchin,were broke now because of the covid,er,(45 )and all so called entitlements will be taken down and invested in the public market place(how they will,they guarantee a retirement fund on 16% of a market has got to be a ponzie scheme,)again allowing the monied class to gain profit,from our pockets,whether we like it or not. mcconnell will sell his re-election as you really voted for me again,because this is what you want…..like many other republicans such as king george the 2nd,and his endless invasion.. the con is bought and paid for by the 84% John had mentioned,not a bad investment,to see America become a private buisness, for wall streets facist goverment.. can you say goebbels and hitler…i can…pass it on…

  24. What we have here in this “room” today is a case of five blind people learning about elephants by feel. Each of the opinions expressed from individual perspectives is necessary to the big picture but insufficient to describe what the elephant in the room looks like.

    Right now we are at a critical moment. We have to start the long journey back. We have one job. Replace the current wrecking ball in chief and all the little balls with an imperfect set of humans who at least know who we are.

    Focus people. Keep your eye on the ball that’s being pitched not the next pitch.

  25. Jack Smith- ” the con is bought and paid for by the 84% John had mentioned,not a bad investment,to see America become a private business, for wall streets fascist government.”

    Pretty much sums up reality and what I have been saying in regards to our economic/political history the past posting. We have a Wall Street Fascist Government…period.

    I sometimes wonder where people like John have been living the last 60 years. Unions went from employing 1 in 4 workers in America as recently as 1975 to 8% in the private sector. Tell me again how Clinton and Obama supported the Unions???

    I am a staunch FDR/Truman New Deal Democrat. I am proud of that. It created the greatest Middle Class in history.

    John Sorg, you saying you have called me out is laughable. I don’t take your rants seriously because it is NOT about me or you, this is about America’s integrity to The People and The Common Good and to the experiment we call Democracy. We had a decent and improving track record under FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon economically and politically (Nixon’s obsessions to DNC and the mistake called Vietnam not withstanding).

    During those years NO POLITICIAN would have EVER considered tearing down the Middle Class by destroying the Unions. No one would have considered giving away our manufacturing might and wealth to countries overseas. No one would have uttered cutting Social Security or Medicare or dismantling the banking regulations or Wall Street regulations imposed by FDR.

    Yet, I am amazed at people who don’t know there political and economic history in this country. We have been here before. 25-50% unemployment (rural to city #s) in the Great Depression that lasted through the end of the 2nd WW when considering the sacrifices the homeland made even as women and un-drafted men went to work lowering unemployment.

    It was the Wall Street Capitalist who brought this country to it’s knees in 1929. Why didn’t Obama “call out Wall Street” as FDR and Truman did??? Why did he not insist that the TARP be for those hurting who lost jobs and homes as FDR created government jobs for those who were unemployed???

    Without question, Obama did some great things socially and politically. BUT, economically, in the words of FDR and Trump (can’t make that up as Trump posed as an “I feel your pain” FDR Populist), “the working man has been left behind.” Even Obama said that the good paying jobs would NOT be replaced after 2008 but be filled in by shitty gig jobs and MORE service industry poverty wage jobs. He was right. We gained millions of jobs (which continued under Trump) that are POVERTY WAGE jobs. Warms the heart.

    Economically, Obama continued King George’s tax cuts and EXTENDED and EXPANDED America’s military footprint in the Middle East and Africa. Two killers in terms of added national debt. Obama signed the TTP which McConnell loved! https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mitch-mcconnell-tpp_n_7300842

    The ACA has been a BILLION dollar cash cow for the Private Insurance folk. Try again. I knew people here in Missouri (one of my sons were one of them) who could not afford the cheap Bronze ACA. He paid his penalty and went to free clinics as before. Whatever.

    So Obama extended war, kept Bush Tax cuts as permanent and bailed out all Street and oversaw the TTP. Tell me again how he supported Unions and the middle class???

    Thanks Jack and Todd for adding clarity to the historical reality of Capitalist who have this country by the balls thanks to BOTH parties.

  26. Can we agree that we as a country are losing?

    Can we agree that either Trump or Biden will be the winner on Nov 3ird?

    Can we agree that Biden offers the possibility of recovery and Trump the risk of continued failure over the long term?

    Can we agree the in the short term the biggest elephant in the room is the pandemic which Trump denies and Biden protects himself and those around him from?

  27. Mascriotra seems to be advancing a contradictory thesis. He’s arguing that the Republican Party is all about “recommitting the country to the rule and social dominance of white male Christians.” That the Party is about racial and religious hatred. That’s a coherent philosophy, albeit one reprehensible.

    Then he goes on to quote George Will for the notion that the modern, Trump version of the GOP is without principles and an agenda.

    Those positions are contradictory. Will is the one who is right. The GOP has no agenda today except that it stands for whatever Trump says. Donald Trump could have come out for socialism, supporting black lives matter, kneeling during the national anthem, and Trumpers would have 100% supported Trump in those endeavors.

    What Donald Trump says is by definition gospel to Republicans. It doesn’t matter what he says…it only matters that he says it. I think the notion that these Trump Republicans follow “Dear Leader” because of racial and religious bigotry is way too simplistic and wrong. There are plenty of Trump Republicans who are moderates and not racists or religious bigots. Yet they buy everything “Dear Leader” tells them.

  28. Sure don’t want to get into the middle of the pissing match, uh debate, between John and Bradford today. Both have some truth on their sides. Kurt Vonnegut (one of my favorite authors and fellow Hoosier) or not.

    My observation is that even if Obama did have a majority in both the Senate and the House for a short time during his Presidency, the votes for single payer health care or Medicare for all simply weren’t there; even in the “Democratic” majorities. Obama had no stick to make those recalcitrant Democratic Senators and Congressmen to vote for it.

    An old saying: “Perfect is the enemy of good.”

    With no –zero — support from the Republicans, Obama, Reid and Pelosi decided — rightfully, rationally and prudently IMO — to try to achieve something to help at least some people to obtain health insurance, which included mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions, being able to keep your kids on your policies for extended periods. Those were all good things. Rather than nothing at all. And least we forget, getting even the watered down ACA passed was no sure thing. And, of course, the Republicans have spent most of the last ten years doing everything possible to destroy even those gains, and are likely on the verge of having SCOTUS declare the entire ACA unconstitutional under a totally bogus, out-to-lunch legal theory.

    To upset everyone even more, I will make the prediction that even if Biden wins and the Democrats again have majorities in both Houses of Congress, it will still be more than likely that there won’t be enough Democratic votes to pass single payer or Medicare for All. It would be great if I’m wrong. But if we can get that majority, perhaps we can take some more steps in that direction, and eventually get to that hoped for goal. No one ever said that progress would be easy.

    Finally. OMG! Totally freaking out. Alito and Thomas want to overrule Obergefell once Amy Coney Barrett gets confirmed. Why? Because their “god” says so!

  29. OMG again!

    Trump just announced this morning he is planning on debating Biden in person next week in Miami.

    In what rational world would Biden agree to that? How can the Presidential Debate Commission safely put on a town hall style debate with citizens present in the same room? Unless they put Trump into a plexiglass or plastic bubble with it’s own ventilation and filtration system (Not a chance in Hell that he’d agree to that). Trump is desperate! I think he is deliberately trying to get Biden infected and sick. Hopefully, Biden and his team will not agree to it.

  30. Bradford excellent comments. Some Democratic partisans simply will not admit that both political parties serve the Oligarchs. The Koch Brothers by far were much more effective at organizing, selecting, funding elected officials and setting up their “Think Tanks”.

    The Koch’s must have realized early on their Steroid Capitalism would have little appeal to the masses. They linked up with the Pastor Pence types – Corporatism and bible thumping as solution. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/05/man-who-would-be-president-mike-pence-corporate-theocrat

    It was Bill Clinton who abandoned Main Street in favor of Wall Street with all his deregulation and of course NAFTA and an expansion of trade with China. Clinton understood the axiom of No Honey – No Money.

    If Biden is elected we will find out quickly once he begins to select his Cabinet if he will try to reverse the Democratic Party’s trajectory into being Republican Lite or move to a Progressive Agenda.

  31. Becky,

    Please let me know what you love most about Trump. His exchange of love letters with the N. Korean dictator? His embrace of election underminer and serial killer Putin? His abandonment of the Kurds in northeastern Syria? His betrayal of our NATO allies? His hiring of serial criminals and treasonists to work in his cabinet? His many pardons of convicted pals? His referring to our troops as losers and suckers? His awesome ineptitude in the face of the coronavirus leading to the death of 210,000 people (and counting)? His giving top government positions to his childlike children? His hatred for all Americans who don’t sign up to be part of his base. His declaration that he won’t support a peaceful transfer of power when election results are known? His boorish performance at the first debate? Th fact that he has said nothing for 4 years to indicate that he has any knowledge on any subject? His tireless efforts at voter suppression? His tearing children away from their parents at the border? His endless efforts to divide us and to encourage us to hate one another? His support for racism and white nationalism? His close relationship with a foreign bank famous for its money laundering? His declaration that “they like it if you grab their pussy.”? His ignorant assertion that cities run by democrats are crime spots? His demand that all of his supporters be obsequious suck ups and show it in public?
    His ceaseless efforts to personally profit by transferring money from the U.S. Treasury into his pocket? His constant lying about showing us his income taxes? His tax law that benefited the richest 10% of Americans and almost no one else? His hatred for science and scientists?

    Sorry, I’ve got a couple of hundred more violent transgressions of his job description to ask you about, but I’ve been called for lunch.

    Please share with me your selection of the above topics that best express why you adore this demented psychopath. Thanks.

  32. “The ACA has been a BILLION dollar cash cow for the Private Insurance folk.”

    Bradford; those “Private Insurance Folk” began raising their costs after Nixon repealed the law preventing them from becoming “for profit” organizations. Prices on everything have gone up, including health care insurance, medical care and especially pharmaceuticals and over the counter medications. Are you aware that many OTC medications on the market today were not long ago (in the past 10 years) prescription drugs; insurance companies couldn’t make as much money covering a percentage of the cost so they removed them from prescription to OTC level medications. Then Bill Clinton began the movement in earnest to provide health care for those in need; he got virtually nowhere. George W. made a stronger attempt to create health care coverage for those in need but the Democrats voted that down. The now Corporate Health Care folk and Big Pharma saw the writing on the wall and costs began to soar. President Obama added to earlier health care programs (many authored by George W.’s Congress) that everyone should be covered and all preexisting diseases, illnesses and physical disabilities would be required coverage. Enactment of the ACA added many millions of patients and many of those patients had multiple preexisting conditions which must now be covered by their health care insurance and health care providers. Higher health care costs were to be expected but the Corporate Health Care system CEOs had become used to being paid mega-millions annually in salary and benefits thereby causing that “cash cow” and refused to give them up. It is the greed that is the problem and the government has no control, and apparently no interest in control over price gouging in any corporation because those corporations now own the government via Citizens United.

  33. Brad ol’ boy,
    “Unions went from employing 1 in 4 workers in America as recently as 1975 to 8% in the private sector. Tell me again how Clinton and Obama supported the Unions???”

    Sidestepping your three-alarm question, as a former union rep, I’ll ask one myself. What would you do as President if your party’s primary support — labor — had dwindled by about 70%, primary through its own chickenhearted ignorance, graft, and laziness at the very moment in history when it was getting super support from the Democratic party?

    Further, Labor has about a quarter of the muscle it once had. And that feebleness came just when Labor should have been working hard to establish unions in more factories, but Labor instead was wasting its assets to turn existing union factories into mommy and daddy who would take care of “workers” every wish and eliminate their every discomfort, starting with ridding work of anything looking like actual labor. Too chickenshit to fight to put unions in new shops and too busy making their bed comfy. Unions became the princess and work became the pea.

    No. What I would do as President in Obama’s situation is shop for another interest group to add to my power portfolio.

    Which is more or less what Obama did.

    When unions once again show a will to grow rather than to suck mommy’s teat dry, I would gladly lend them a hand.

    Wall Street? So, why would Wall Street even be for sale? Let’s say because roughly it wasn’t getting what it wanted from the Republican administrations. Which, to me, indicates Wall Street’s possession of at least one virture — it was on the outs with Republicans. A savvy stategist with a bit of battle experience might just consider Wall Street a useful asset, an enemy of my enemy, so to speak. A dude stuck in college stage/junior high perfectionist ideology might disagree.

    Consider, too, that union members already had insurance. Obama’s Affordable Care Act would benefit four times as many workers as union members, thus wooing more support. Simultaneously, ACA would represent a potential comfort for union dudes who loose their jobs, so one could argue that ACA was also support for union people.

    I would say Clinton and Obama supported the Unions with Tough Love: Get to work doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and when I see growth instead of graft and decline, I’ll stick my nose in.

  34. Larry,
    I also represented our local 15 international brotherhood of electrical workers on our labor council in the state.

    The GOP has decimated unions, and, for them, rightfully so! Because the unions were always more on the Democratic side than the Republican. One reason why they want to destroy the post office, the union! The Republicans have wanted to destroy the post office for many many years. They want to get the unions out of the veterans administration, and every other government controlled entity.

    I pointed out the other day, you play the hand you are dealt. When it comes to pacs and super pacs, and citizens united thrown in for good measure, one has to operate in the realm which they exist not one they wish they were in!

    when Bradford doesn’t know the difference between communism and fascism, I have a problem with everything that he said!

    There’s a lot that I don’t know, but, I can smell BS a mile off.

    By the way nice comment!

  35. David,
    Lol, it gets like that sometimes!

    FDR, he learned from his mistakes, and he died in office during his fourth term. All he had to do was threaten to pack the courts to make a supreme Court and some of the other Federal judiciary more non-biased against him! He knew the power of the executive branch, he just wasn’t insane like the one in office right now! I forget how many executive orders he wrote, I believe it was something like 1600 or more. He played hardball like few actually knew how to.

    He had to play the hand he was dealt, that was the great depression and world war II. He made it work because he had to! And that included making a deal with the devil if he had to do that also.

    I mean we could get into how Reagan rated the social security trust fund and basically set the clock towards its demise, or how starting with nixon, they started closing mental health facilities!

    To say both parties are the same, is ridiculous, and it’s self-serving drivel! I guarantee you some of the folks that claim expertise in the history of this political democracy are sorely ignorant of history.

  36. Larry Kaiser; it was the Republican states which destroyed the unions in their state which weakened unions nationally.

  37. John Sorg,- “Bradford, That whole comment was basically a crock!”

    Since that comment, you have been labeling, twisting and ridiculing me just like Trump does. Does that strike you as odd? I doubt it. You see to be very mean spirited. If I have attacked anyone personally, I hope I get called out by it, especially by the owner (Sheila) of this blog.

    I would bet that if I have, it’s because I have reacted in some measure of self defense. However, 2 wrongs do not make a right. I would still own up to that.

    You don’t seem capable of that. You go right for jugulars in a very personal way. You have yet to remark on ANY record of fact I have offered except to say Obama or Clinton had no choice but to “get along” with what is. Those are NOT facts, it is assuming one knows what Obama “had to do” in order to lead or get things done.

    Well, I study history because leaders lead and others go along. In my opinion, the records of Bill and Barack show me two leaders who “went along” with the Wall Street trend established by Reagan rather than leading with policies designed to help The Common Good instead of The Privileged Few.

    I have studied history all my life, especially European and American (ie Western Sociology, Philosophy and History). I know you don’t believe this (again, given your ridiculing crass comments directed at me personally), but I am very well versed in Marx and the differing schools that branched out from him, including Communism. I am well aware of the differing forms of Fascism as well. Corporate Government has a long history. Including here in the USA.

    Last, but not least. I DID say, intentionally, Global Elite. Because if you look at the most powerful corporations in the world, they are, indeed, GLOBAL. This was an intentional move with NAFTA for Bill “I feel you pain” Clinton. Obama added to it with the TPP. Many blue chip stock companies have workers ALL OVER THE WORLD (mostly to get cheap labor).

    I have a nuanced look at history. NOTHING IS BLACK AND WHITE. History is shades of grey with very few hints of true white or black. I am trying to introduce the idea (reality, actually) that our government has essentially been one “economic” party with social, religious and political nuances that give the illusion that they are two. Again, you have said that the Democrat Party has to play the game economically with donors in order to compete with the GOP (I may be wrong here, but I think that is the justification used). That is plain wrong. The proof? Bernie Sanders has all but gotten his money from non-PAC, non-corporate donors. I think AOC followed suite as well as a few of the other Progressive Democrats. Therefore, that theory is bogus.

    Blessings to all who give their thoughts here. I would hope we could go on without berating, ridiculing and attacking people with all kinds of labels.

    I end with this. Truman may well have been the most well read President in our history. Of history, he was obsessed because, as he stated, those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it (I know he didn’t originate that saying, but he believed it to be VERY true).

    In that spirit, I am trying to be fair and real with the history from Clinton and Obama eras. I am trying to suggest that if we do NOT learn from THEIR records that are more in line with Capitalist rather than the working class, then we will inevitably keep doing the same thing, which is what I fear from Biden unless the Progressives can steer him to the vital and important New Green Deal.

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